Mayor Adrian M. Fenty last week signed legislation that would empower him to run the District of Columbia’s 55,000-student public school system.
Congress must still approve a change to the city’s Home Rule Charter before Mr. Fenty can assume full control, but the mayor pledged to move ahead immediately. The District of Columbia’s Council gave the plan final approval last week.
The measure would give Mr. Fenty, a Democrat who was elected last November, authority to hire and fire the superintendent, as well as control of the school system’s operating budget and its $2.3 billion capital building program.
He would join the mayors of Boston, Chicago, and New York City, who also have authority over their city’s public school systems.
Washington’s elected school board would be stripped of its authority over the budgeting process, collective bargaining, instruction, and other day-to-day operations. The panel would remain an elected one, but would instead function like a state board of education responsible for setting academic standards and requirements for instructional time and teacher certification.
Mr. Fenty has not said whether he would keep Superintendent Clifford B. Janey in that post. Robert C. Bobb, the president of the elected school board, who had been opposed to the takeover, and Mr. Janey pledged to work with the mayor last week.
The city’s public schools have struggled for decades with low achievement, spiraling dropout rates, and operational failures.
A version of this article appeared in the May 02, 2007 edition of Education Week